The intelligent use of materials

Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM

© Fraunhofer IWM

The Fraunhofer IWM sends out impulses, innovates and solves problems related to component and system reliability, safety, service life and functionality for industry and for public bodies. We develop sustainable and efficient solutions that make optimal use of material properties and lead to new component functions and innovative manufacturing techniques.

Latest reports

Waves, folds and plastic flow: detecting the first signs of wear on metal surfaces

Fraunhofer IWM: Chip created on the surface of polycrystalline copper after scratching with a hard tip. Experiment and simulation.

A team of scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Freiburg shows which wear mechanisms take place on metal surfaces before the actual wear becomes apparent. These latest findings from the Fraunhofer IWM will be presented in the current issue of Physical Review Applied. Understanding such mechanisms is the first step to minimizing friction and wear. [more]

Simulations for better transparent oxide layers - Fraunhofer research news

Touchscreens and solar cells rely on special oxide layers. However, errors in the layers’ atomic structure impair not only their transparency, but also their conductivity. Using atomic models, Fraunhofer researchers have found ways of identifying and removing these errors. [more]

Crash-testing rivets - Fraunhofer research news

Rivets have to reliably hold the chassis of an automobile together – even if there is a crash. Previously, it was difficult to predict with great precision how much load they could tolerate. A more advanced model now delivers realistic projections. [more]

Liquid crystal lubricant - Fraunhofer research news

Fraunhofer IWM: Wissenschaftspreis des Stifterverbandes 2014 - Forschung im Verbund

Thanks to a new lubricant, small gears can run with virtually no friction. Made from liquid crystalline fluid, these lubricants drastically reduce friction and wear. For this, Dr. Andreas Kailer und Dr. Tobias Amann and their project partners were awarded the price »Wissenschaftspreis des Stifterverbandes 2014 - Forschung im Verbund«. [more]

Ceramic screws – corrosion and heat resistant - Fraunhofer research news

Most screws are made of steel. But high temperatures or acidic environments take their toll on this otherwise stable material. The alternative is ceramic screws. Researchers can now accurately predict their stress resistance. [more]

12.-13. March 2014:
Fraunhofer Direct Digital Manufacturing Conference, Berlin

Fraunhofer IWM: DDMC 2014, Berlin

From March 12-13, 2014 the third Fraunhofer Direct Digital Manufacturing Conference will be taking place at the Grand Hotel Esplanade in Berlin. The conference will cover the entire range of topics in additive manufacturing, starting with methodologies, design and simulation, right up to more application-specific topics, e.g. from the realm of medical engineering and electronics. [more]

Ultra-thin tool heating for injection molding - Fraunhofer research news

In future, thin-film heating will allow plastic parts to be produced with greatly improved surface quality. Researchers have also found a way to make the whole process more energy efficient. [more]

Saws made of carbon - Fraunhofer research news

More material could be saved when manufacturing wafers in future. Ultra-thin saws made of carbon nanotubes and diamond would be able to cut through silicon wafers with minimum kerf loss. A new method makes it possible to manufacture the saw wires. [more]

Fitness test for corrosion protection coatings - Fraunhofer research news

Internal coatings in the different sections of oil treatment plants are subjected to a variety of stresses. By conducting comparative tests, researchers are analyzing which materials are best suited to each individual section. [more]

Less friction loss in combustion engines - Fraunhofer research news

Researchers have developed a method that can reduce engine friction and wear even during production of engine components. Special coatings can help to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. [more]

Range of topics and services at the Fraunhofer IWM

  • Experimental identification and multi-scale material modeling to overcome defects and errors (crack formation, deformation, failure, wear, fatigue)
  • Development of experimental techniques, testing concepts and computer simulation tools for assessing and predicting operational behavior, reliability and service life
  • Development of prototype techniques and process simulations for the optimum use of material properties and new component functions


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